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Mercedes Benz GL Detailed Expert Review - December 06, 2013

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Introduction

Dec 06, 2013 : Expert Review By

Mercedes Benz GL Class Review

Mercedes has a knack of doing things in a grand manner. Lately, they have made great strides in trying to reclaim the top spot in the premium car segment. This German aggression is aptly symbolised in its legendary Tri-star logo.

Mercedes Benz GL Expert Review, GL Road Test - 204218 | CarTrade

Mercedes has always stood by a best or nothing approach. They entered India well before other car makers and carved their own space in the niche luxury car market.

They have been famous for producing cars high on luxury. However, what happens when luxury combines with attitude? It is the GL Class. The GL Class is the company’s flagship car in SUVs and holds a stronger position versus the M Class. Being the ultimate luxury crossover sold by Mercedes Benz in India, it is sure to grab attention.

We find out how much in our review.

Exterior

When you have great power, you cannot possibly hide it and that is the case with the Mercedes Benz GL Class. It is not just a bulky flabby SUV but then it has loads of muscle. The GL exactly looks like a Dwayne Johnson of SUVs.

The GL gets a massive radiator grille which is very bold and strong. Even the multiple sections on the bumper make it look very meaty. It gets a chrome bash plate underneath the front bumper and day time running lights (DRLs) affixed on side air vent space. The headlight sports a new design with the indicator strip flowing inside.

Also, the new car is dimensionally bigger than all its earlier generations. Increase in dimensions normally means increase in weight too but then Mercedes has got the weight down by using might weight materials. The car looks a lot smarter now and cuts out very impressively from the otherwise boring boxy shape.

Our review car came with an AMG kit style pack so the amazing 21inch wheels are courtesy to the same pack and it also gets AMG etched on it. Since the new GL is also longer than earlier, it gets a lengthy window line. Adding more character to the already aggressive look are the flared wheel arches which don’t protrude out abruptly but choose to sync well with the design.

The rear quarter is dominated by the strong D-Pillar making its way to the tail gate. Even the rear profile looks utterly gorgeous with the newly design tail lamps and mild chrome lines running over the tail gate. Even the huge rear bumpers do justice to the entire sporty image of the car.

The new GL looks a lot crisper and sharper than ever. Mercedes Benz also offered to give all the AMG goodies as standard to first 100 customers. The best thing about the design if GL is it does not get too loud shouting about the mammoth of a engine sitting inside but at the same time it also highlights the aggression this SUV is capable of.

Interior

If you like being treated well and spoilt in luxury, it does not get any better than a Mercedes Benz. It may sound enthusiastic but then the interiors of GL have comfort and luxury as the main appeal inside the driver’s cabin. The sophistication of the cabin makes it look more of a premium and luxurious living room equipped with all amenities.

Among the different trim options available, the ash wood brown trim is the best it can be inside the GL. It blends really well with the ebony plastic surfaces. Contrasting the dark surfaces are the brushed aluminium parts like door handles, AC vent surrounds and even some bits on the steering wheel which look very neat.

The leather seats are very comfortable for every row with adequate cushioning. Thanks to the new larger dimensions, the cabin has become more spacious than before. Front driver seats get auto memory option meaning three different positions of seats can be stored in an auto memory mode.

The space inside is of gigantic proportions and so are the headroom and legroom. It does not matter how tall you are because the new GL seems to have room for everyone. It is not just the front row seats which get so much space but even the second row seats are very impressive. The second row seats can easily tuck in 3 adults. The last row of seats is primarily for kids but even then they manage to seat average sized adults. Flipping the last row of seats can be done with the help of a button which is very useful. The large doors also make sure there is easy ingress and egress inside the cabin.

Inside the GL, it gets climate controls similar to the ones seen in other models. The front zone temperature can be adjusted according to the driver’s and front passenger’s individual needs even the rear passengers can set their own individual temperature. The number of AC vents inside the cabin keeps the cabin nicely ventilated. 

There are a number of storage options available inside the cabin. Even the door trims can hold a litre class container. The best feature has to be when the third row of seats is collapsed completely making amazing room for rear luggage stowage. It has enough space to encourage your one kid with his rockstar dreams and the other with his cricket ambitions together.

Performance

The new GL retains the 2987cc 6 cylinder diesel engine except that the new one packs in more power and delivers better torque than earlier versions. The new engine produces 258 hp at 3600 rpm and generates of torque of 619 Nm at 1600-2400. It also comes with a 7G-TRONIC Plus automatic transmission as standard.

To begin with, the GL is a massive vehicle. I am 6’1 and even form someone like me the cabin feels huge. After getting myself inside and strapping the safety belts I manages to the 3L V6 engine started. The AMG kit had really pepped me up but the exhaust note at idling is very gentle. There is no violent symphony even when you raise the engine speed.

The driver’s seat is at a considerably tall position and the overall visibility is fantastic with the wide and grand front windshield. The only issue some passengers might face is the long stretched hood which makes it little difficult to manoeuvre this SUV around tight corners.

It is a Mercedes Benz so obviously it comes with technologies that aid you every moment. The new GL has a permanent all wheel drive system, the 4MATIC with a 50:50 ratio of power split on front and rear axle. It is a very intelligent system since it senses the vehicle behaviour and immediately intervenes if need be. This system also works in tandem with Electronic stability programme to make the sure the vehicle is in control even at high speeds and on different terrains.

The GL also comes with Crosswind Assist, a first of its own kind in the segment. It uses inputs from the ESP and corrects the direction of the vehicle by course correcting brake actuation. This feature is very useful especially while overtaking heavy vehicles where the crosswind effect is very strong.

The 3L engine produces great power and torque but then it does not come across as a very quick machine and the reason for that is its heavy weight. The engine takes its own time and doesn’t deliver power on the go but even said that the performance of the engine is superb especially when you throw it on the highway. The vehicle remains very stable and reaches high speeds very easily. The braking offers enough bite, it is very effective but at high speeds getting the vehicle to absolute stand still takes time.

The steering wheel helps giving direct feedback and the suspension setup can take almost everything but not with these wheels. The 21 inch AMG embossed wheels undoubtedly look the best on GL but then unfortunately they don’t score on rough roads making the passengers feel even the slightest of undulation on road.

Even the 7G-TRONIC Plus automatic transmission is very effective. It also comes with paddles but then not for any enthusiastic drive feel, it is mainly for convenient purpose. The gearbox now feels a lot smoother than before. However, it can be a tad quicker to make the GL a bit sportier. Overall the drive feel was impressive and we also managed to get a best mileage of 9.5 Kmpl.

Specifications
Technical Specifications
 Make Mercedes Benz
 Make GL 350 CDI
Engine Displacement/ No. of Cylinders 2987/6CYL
Power (PS/RPM) 258/3600
Torque (Nm/RPM) 619/1600-2400
Transmission 7G- Tronic Plus automatic transmission
Dimensions in mm  
Length  5120
Width 1934
Height 1850
Wheel Base 3075
Claimed fuel efficiency in KMPL  
Tyre size Front 275/55 R19
Tyre size Rear 275/55 R19
Top speed KMPH 220
Tank capacity in Liters 100
Kerb Weight (Kg) 2535
Turning circle Radius in M 6.2
Boot Capacty in Lters 295
Ex showroom Mumbai in Rs 72,58,000
Mercedes Benz GL Competitors
Competition Specifications
Specifications
Mercedes Benz
GL 350 CDI
Audi
Q7 3.0 TDI Quattro
BMW
X Drive 30d
Engine Displacement 2987/6CYL 2967/4CYL 2993/6CYL
Power (PS/RPM) 258/3600 245/3800-4400 258/4000
Torque (Nm/RPM) 619/1600-2400 550/1750-2500 560/1500-3000
Transmission 7G- Tronic Plus automatic transmission 8-Speed Triptronic 8-Speed Automatic Transmission
Dimensions in mm
Length  5120 5089 4648
Width 1934 1983 1881
Height 1850 1737 1661
Wheel Base 3075 3002 2810
Claimed fuel efficiency in KMPL 12 12 16
Tyre size Front 275/55 R19 255/55 R18 225/60R17
Tyre size Rear 275/55 R19 255/55 R18 225/60 R17
Top speed KMPH 220 215 210
Tank capacity in Liters 100 100 100
Kerb Weight (Kg) 2535 2345 NA
Turning circle Radius in M 6.2 6.2 6.2
Boot Capacty in Lters 295 330 300
Ex showroom Mumbai in Rs 72,58,000 54,31,000 50,15,600
Features
  Blue Efficiency 4 Matic Engine Cricket Leather upholstery system Cruise control
  7G Tronic Plus Transmission 4 Way Lumber support xDrive intelligent 4WD with variable torque split
  Crosswind Assist Electrically adjustable front seats Automatic operation of tail gate
  AIRMATIC air suspensions MMI Radio Integrated control concept Xenon Headlights
  All wheel drive 4 MATIC Driver information system with colour display Automatic airconditioner with 2-Zone control
  Downhill Speed Regulation DSR Audi Sound System Panorama Glassroof
  Safe driving Attention Assist Audi Music interface DVD Changer for 6 DVD
  PRE SAFE System Rear seat entertainment preperation HiFi Loud speaker
  Nine Airbags Parking system plus with reversing camera Six Airbags
  Fully Power adjustable seats Cruise Control System Anti-lock Braking System
  Thermotronic Multi function leather steering wheel Cornering brake control
  Load compartment management Electric steering wheel adjustment Dynamic Stability Control
  Easy entry system 4 Zone Deluxe  automatic airconditioner Dynamic Traction Control
  Electrically operated easy pack Tailgate Xenon Plus headlights Leather Upholstery
  Intelligent Light system LED Daytime running lights -
  COMAND Online Multimedia System - -
  Parktronic  Assit - -
  LED Daytime running lamps - -
  ARTICO Man made Leather upholstery - -
  Electrically adjustable front seats - -
  Mechanical Easy Entry System for third row seats Mechanical Easy Entry System for third row seats -
Conclusion

From the time GL was launched in India, it did manage to get good numbers. In fact, the auto maker sold 100 models in 15 days. It was convincing enough for the company to start local production in India. Thus, India became the only country to manufacture SUVs outside the company’s SUV (sports utility vehicle) plant in Tuscaloosa, U.S.

With this move, the company has brought down the prices of the GL making local production a highly cost effective decision as well helping customer avail spares easily. The “Made in India” was launched at Rs.72.58 lakh (ex-showroom Pune) making it Rs.5 lakhs cheaper than the launch edition. The company also hopes that GL will contribute strongly in the volumes game as well.

If grand luxury is what you seek, than the GL will indeed be a fantastic experience.

 

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